Last week, we covered why brand loyalty in the future will be achieved through shared values and new understandings, in addition to our other predictions highlighting transparency, experiences, and personalized engagement. This week we’re talking about how marketers will need to integrate their brands as part of consumers’ everyday lives in a helpful and beneficial way, beyond their product primary usage. 

#5 Is Your Brand Part Personal Assistant? 

It all began in 2011 with Siri. Today, it seems like every month there is a new virtual AI assistant to help us with the things we are growing too lazy to do. In fact, it is predicted that by 2022, voice-enabled smart speakers will reach 55% of US households and voice-based commerce sales will reach $40 billion(!). Marketers in the 2020s can stay on top of this trend by tapping into the commerce potential and also delivering efficiency to consumer’s day-to-day lives. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers believe the best brands succeed in making their lives easier. This percentage will likely only increase in the next ten years. 

Even today, voice-based search has seen exponential growth, and in the coming decade, organic voice search will be a huge channel in which brands have visibility. A voice-based search strategy presents new and interesting challenges. Marketers will need to plan for a day when search queries will no longer be keyword-oriented the way we think of today, but rather action requests. 

Additionally, most experts predict the 2020s will usher in the rise of voice-enabled products. Those who use Alexa are well aware of how much Amazon is ahead of the game. In a heated battle with Alexa, Google introduced Google Assistant Connect at CES 2019, allowing manufacturers to build simple voice assistant functionality into their devices while a nearby smart speaker does the computing. The era of the Internet of Things, when the majority of our products will be connected in some way, is just around the corner. 

Marketers will be tasked with providing value from these integrations. Will your toothbrush remind you to go to the dentist? Will your running shoes set an alarm for your daily jog? Will you be able to ask your sunglasses what the UV index is? Marketers will have to design these micro-exchanges so they are actually useful to consumers and not just a fun novelty. And as with all of our predictions, the privacy and data security of these devices will be top of mind for consumers, which is why it is important for brands to take a proactive stance on what data means for their company. 

What Can You Do to Prepare?

1) Anticipate Product and Service Innovation

The “Internet of Things” has been a topic of conversation for a few years. And now with voice-based search, it is not unfathomable that in a near future most of the brands we interact will be both connected to the internet and enabled for voice interaction. The time for product and service innovation is now.

2) Create a Conversation Between Friends

Let’s anthropomorphize your brand for a minute. Forty-one percent of people who use voice search say it feels like talking to a friend. If a consumer was to have a meaningful chat with your brand, what would they talk about?

3) Solidify your VEO (Voice Engine Optimization) Strategy

Meet customers where they’re searching. VEO entails optimizing your content and brand information to increase your likelihood of powering voice search results. Getting to the top is more important than ever. While desktop search involves pages of options, voice search typically gives one or two options.

Our Last Prediction: Social Media Clout is Replaced by Connection 

In 2019, it was announced that Instagram planned to remove “likes” from its public-facing newsfeed. For the better part of the decade, influencer marketing was largely defined as brands partnering with content producers who have a large following and high engagement metrics. In the 2020s, consumers will be highly skeptical of traditional “influencers.” Marketers will need to define new criteria for what makes someone “influential.” Find out why we believe social media will be about connection, not clout.

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